ST and Microsoft look to boost development of smart, connected devices

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STMicroelectronics has signed an agreement with Microsoft to simplify and accelerate the development of smart-appliance controllers and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

Developers working with STM32 microcontrollers (MCU) will be able to leverage Microsoft Azure RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) to provide ready-to-use services for managing their application. Connected to the STM32Cube development ecosystem, which consolidates tools and software to support customers’ projects from start to finish, the Microsoft Azure RTOS will be fully supported and all licenses free for images deployed properly on STM32 microcontrollers, including prototyping and volume production.

“STM32 and Azure RTOS create a powerful combination for our customers to unleash their creativity,” said Ricardo de Sa Earp, Group Vice President, Microcontroller Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “We are making it easier and faster than ever to bring imaginative new IoT products to market that are high-performing, feature-rich, reliable, and secure.”

The extensive STM32Cube ecosystem provides free development tools, software bricks, and software expansion packages for users to handle everything from selecting the right device and initializing the project to coding, programming, testing, and scaling and porting the design if needed. Over 1000 STM32 variants are already available, covering a broad spectrum of performance, feature integration, and package sizes.

The STM32Cube ecosystem features a broad offering of embedded software libraries from which a user can pick and choose from a portfolio of more than 100 software packages from ST and partners, and which will now include the Azure RTOS.

The collaboration between ST and Microsoft is intended to let customers leverage the services of Azure RTOS, which meet the needs of tiny, smart, connected devices. This includes Azure RTOS ThreadX real-time operating system, which has a compact memory footprint suited to deeply embedded applications. Also included are the FileX FAT file system, NetX and NetX Duo TCP/IP networking stacks, and USBX USB stack.

Value-added features of the Azure RTOS highly integrated and industrial-quality middleware components include support for IP layer security (IPsec) and socket layer security (TLS and DTLS) protocols, with future Common Criteria (CC) EAL4+ certification for TLS/DTLS and FIPS 140-2 certified software cryptographic library. Microsoft will also provide safety pre-certifications including IEC 61508 SIL4, IEC 62304 Class C, and ISO 26262 ASIL-D.

While ensuring a consistent look and feel across Azure RTOS components and products, which promotes ease of use, Microsoft is also providing extra flexibility for embedded developers by publishing the source code at GitHub as part of the agreement with MCU vendors.